Pension Reform Committee Meeting Update

There was standing room only as Illinois’ pension conference committee met for the first time Thursday in Chicago. The bipartisan 10-member committee comprised of State Senators and State Representatives has been tasked with producing a compromised bill that enacts meaningful reform to the worst funded pension system in the nation. The committee heard testimony from state agencies, the business community, advocacy groups and unions who pleaded their cases and offered their positions and priorities to be read into the record.

Illinois House Republican Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) tapped state Rep. Darlene Senger (R-Naperville) and state Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) to serve on the pension conference committee to represent the Illinois House Republicans because of their expertise on this pressing issue. On the pension reform discussion table are topics that need to be considered that will have an impact to our state’s finances, the economy, taxes, spending and the budget. State Rep. Senger cited a
Standing room only for Day 1of
Pension Reform Conference
Committee Meeting 
representative’s remark from the Fitch credit rating agency, that Illinois currently has what is equivalent to a junk bond rating for a corporation because we have failed to enact meaningful pension reform.

Despite recent reports that the conference committee would clear the slate of previous pension proposals, most of the testimony offered yesterday was geared around components of Senate Bill 1 and the union-backed Senate Bill 2404. Senate Bill 1 has passed the House and Senate Bill 2404 has passed the Senate, but neither bill has advanced in the other chamber. It was established yesterday that Senate Bill 1 goes further in savings than Senate Bill 2404.

Governor Quinn has tasked the pension conference committee to produce a compromised piece of pension reform legislation by July 9 when session reconvenes. It remains unclear if that will happen.

The pension conference committee will reconvene in Chicago on July 3rd at 9am.